A total of 205 COVID-19 patients have been identified as having contracted the Omicron coronavirus variant, including a local cluster of 25 cases. Thailand’s health authorities confirmed that all of the cases have been linked to international travelers.
The Department of Medical Sciences (DMS) reported the 205 Omicron cases, 180 of which were detected among international travelers, while the remaining 25 were found in the local population.
DMS Director-General Dr. Supakit Sirilak said the Delta variant remains the dominant strain in Thailand, with genetic sequencing of samples from international arrivals and the local population from the past week showing 732 Delta cases and 142 Omicron cases. Alpha and Beta cases were no longer detected.
The director-general noted that the department is still capable of identifying new variants, including Omicron-like strains. He also cited a study from Hong Kong University that suggested the Omicron variant can spread 70 times faster than the Delta variant, but is less damaging to the lungs.
Data from the United Kingdom indicated that the transmission rate of Omicron between family members is also higher than that of Delta.
Citing the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Supakit added that currently available vaccines provide less protection against Omicron, but can still prevent serious symptoms, while several studies suggest that booster doses can help strengthen the immune system regardless of the vaccine brand. (NNT)